Afghanistan News: Live Updates on The Taliban, Withdrawal and Biden

Afghanistan’s Taliban has been at war with the government for over two decades. The militant group is now in control of more than half of the country and has pledged to continue fighting until all foreign forces leave. However, a recent announcement from US Vice President Joe Biden may be a sign that a withdrawal is imminent.

The afghanistan capital is a country that has been in the news for quite some time. There have been many changes to the region, and this article will provide you with all of the latest updates on any recent changes.

Here’s what you should be aware of:

President Biden said on Sunday that his administration might extend his Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing from Afghanistan.

President Biden stated on Sunday that his government may extend the deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was set for August 31. Credit… The New York Times’ Stefani Reynolds

As the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan descended further into chaos and bloodshed, Vice President Joe Biden is contemplating extending the timetable, despite mounting criticism from world leaders and veterans worried that a security vacuum may result in deadly repercussions.

On Monday, violent confrontations at Kabul’s airport fueled concerns that the US departure would exacerbate the country’s already fragile security situation. A member of the Afghan security forces was killed in a shootout with unidentified assailants in the early hours of the morning, according to the German military. It didn’t say which Afghan group the Afghans belonged to.

According to the report, three additional Afghan military personnel were injured in the fight near the airport’s North Gate. Soldiers from the United States and Germany were also pulled into the conflict, although they were unharmed.

The US has been scrambling in recent days to keep the chaos at the airport under control as hundreds of Afghans attempt frantically to escape the Taliban, with swelling throngs becoming deadly. The British Defense Ministry, which has soldiers stationed at the airport, claimed on Sunday that seven Afghan civilians had perished in the throng, including a baby, who had been crushed to death.

Mr. Biden said on Sunday that his administration may extend the deadline set for Aug. 31, and he promised that all evacuated Afghan friends will be given a home in the United States after being checked and vetted at locations throughout the world.

In comments from the White House, he stated, “We will welcome these Afghans who have aided us in the war effort over the past 20 years to their new home in the United States of America.” “Because that’s who we are,” says the narrator. That’s who we are in America.”

The Taliban, on the other hand, have made it plain that any delay of the US military departure date would be undesirable. On Monday, Mohammad Naem, a Taliban spokesperson in Qatar, stated, “They should complete the evacuation by August 31 as they have promised.”

On Tuesday, the leaders of the Group of Seven countries will meet virtually to address the increasingly perilous situation. Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is in charge of the group this year, is likely to bring up the subject of retrenchment, as some in his country demand for penalties on the Taliban.

Apart from concerns that the Taliban would revert to its previous brutal repression, national security authorities are also concerned that the US departure could create a new and continuing danger, such as ISIS terrorists acquiring a foothold in the country.

Mr. Johnson said on Twitter on Sunday, “It is critical that the international community works together to guarantee safe evacuations, avoid a humanitarian catastrophe, and assist the Afghan people to secure the achievements of the past 20 years.”

Military veterans in the United States have also urged the White House to maintain its commitment to provide a safe departure for American nationals and their Afghan friends. On Monday, dozens of military and veteran groups wrote a letter to the White House seeking a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the problem.

Vice President Kamala Harris met with officials in Singapore on Monday, the first stop on a tour to Southeast Asia intended at strengthening relations in the area, as Afghanistan has become a powerful symbol of American retreat in the globe.

The Biden administration has made Asia a focal point of its foreign policy, seeking to strengthen relations there in order to offset China’s growing assertiveness. However, Ms. Harris’s top advisers have been questioned about whether the administration’s diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan would be harmed by the unplanned departure.

Ms. Harris’ journey to Vietnam, where she will arrive on Tuesday, is especially difficult in terms of time and optics, with images of desperate Afghans at Kabul airport evoking memories of another tumultuous conflict.

Mr. Biden said that the military had evacuated 28,000 people in little over a week since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, and that the protective perimeter surrounding the airport had been extended.

Many people are concerned about the safety of those left behind, particularly the approximately 3,400 Afghan U.N. staff employees in Afghanistan, particularly women. Some people are concerned that they may be targeted by the Taliban and its extreme supporters because of their international ties.

A crowd waiting by an entrance to the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday.

On Sunday, a throng gathered outside an entrance to the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek

Desperate Afghans leaving the country confront hazardous crowds, dwindling airline seats, and Taliban militants abusing them. Those who are fortunate enough to be able to escape, however, may be overwhelmed by emotions of sorrow for the nation they left behind.

As thousands of Afghans flee the Taliban takeover, Samiullah Mahdi, a professor at Kabul University, said the attempted exodus is causing shock, anxiety, and estrangement among those who have left.

Mr. Mahdi, who worked as a journalist for Tolo News, Afghanistan’s most prominent news source, stated, “Afghanistan is not the same anymore.” “We are no longer the same.”

He was able to escape only days before Kabul fell apart, and he requested that his whereabouts not be disclosed since he was afraid for his safety. He was now overwhelmed by the fear of becoming a permanent exile, he added.

He said, “We have no home to return to.”

The situation at the airport has become more hazardous for those attempting to escape the Taliban in recent days. Large crowds have turned rowdy, even fatal in certain instances. Attack fears have increased.

Mr. Mahdi said he’d heard terrifying stories of individuals attempting to flee. He said that a teammate who fractured his arm after being assaulted by Taliban militants was not treated until he was evacuated.

He claims that the days after Kabul’s fall have seemed like centuries. A friend left in Kabul characterized it to him as “a city of ghosts,” since many people have stayed cloistered inside for fear of Taliban retaliation.

“You feel as though it’s dark even when it’s daylight. Mr. Mahdi said, “That sort of sadness is ruling the city.” “People are afraid that the international world has given up on Afghanistan and will one day recognize the country’s new regime.”

There was also an overwhelming feeling, he added, that the achievements of the previous two decades, such as press freedom and the blossoming of women’s rights, were now under jeopardy. He remarked, “You have tears in your eyes and you can’t keep it together.” “It’s bereavement, rage, and hopelessness.”

When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan in the past, they enforced a severe form of Shariah law that prohibited women from working outside the home or leaving the house without a male guardian, prohibited girls from attending school, and publicly flogged anyone who disobeyed the group’s morality code.

Mr. Mahdi said that the Taliban were already showing previous inclinations by requesting that private and public institutions separate individuals by gender, with only female lecturers and professors teaching female students. However, he said that colleges were having trouble finding enough teachers and that he worried that women’s courses might be eliminated.

“It hurts a lot when you feel that everything you worked so hard to create and love to work on has been ripped away from you,” he added.

Vice President Kamala Harris and  Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore holding a news conference in the Southeast Asian nation on Monday.

On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held a press conference in the Southeast Asian country. Credit… Evelyn Hockstein took this picture of the pool.

Faced with mounting criticism over the US’ hasty exit from Afghanistan, Vice President Kamala Harris said on Monday that the Biden administration was “singularly focused” on evacuating American people and Afghan partners.

Ms. Harris made her remarks during a press conference in Singapore, where she was kicking off a weeklong tour to Southeast Asia intended at boosting commercial relations and combating China’s increasing influence in the area.

Instead, concerns about the botched implementation of the withdrawal, which has sparked condemnation from legislators on both sides of the aisle as well as leaders from across the globe, dominated her joint press conference with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Ms. Harris said, “Right now, we are solely focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who cooperated with us, and Afghans who are vulnerable, especially women and children.” “At this moment, it is our only focus.”

The comments come as the White House announced a number of new agreements with Singapore to strengthen cooperation in the areas of climate change, cyberthreats, and pandemic preparedness. Ms. Harris has also said that the government is committed to working with Southeast Asian countries to solve supply-chain problems, such as a worldwide shortage of semiconductors used in the manufacture of automobiles and computers. In a broader sense, the trip is part of the Biden administration’s effort to concentrate its national security policy on countering China’s growing might.

Nonetheless, the highly condemned withdrawal of American soldiers from Afghanistan has overshadowed the start of her journey. Since Aug. 14, the military has evacuated tens of thousands of civilians from Kabul, but thousands of Americans and Afghan friends remain in danger. Thousands of Afghans fleeing the Taliban have flocked to the airport, where they have been met with violence and numerous fatalities.

Ms. Harris, who stood beside Mr. Lee, said her presence in Singapore, as well as the agreements made during the visit, should reassure friends that the US is still a reliable ally.

Ms. Harris said, “I am standing here because of our commitment to a historic, lasting connection with the Indo-Pacific area, Southeast Asian nations, and, in particular, Singapore.”

Mr. Lee said after the discussion with the two presidents that he had volunteered to deploy one of Singapore’s military aircraft to help with the evacuation of Afghan translators, guides, and those who helped or worked with the US. Ms. Harris said that the US will investigate the offer.

Mr. Lee said, “We hope Afghanistan does not become an epicenter for terrorism again, and in the long run, what counts is how the United States repositions itself in the Asia Pacific, engages the wider region, and maintains the fight against terrorism.”

Mr. Lee also said he was now able to “contemplate vaccinated, safe, quarantine-free travel” with other countries and that he would continue talks with the US on easing pandemic travel restrictions, which is likely to be a relief for Americans living in Singapore and U.S. businesses looking to continue working in the region.

Mr. Lee said, “It’s something we have firmly in mind because it’s essential for Singapore as a hub to be able to reopen and function securely, and for people to go back and forth to conduct business and maintain ourselves linked with the world.” “And the United States is one among the nations with whom we will pursue these discussions.”

Commercial airlines have begun evacuating Americans and Afghan friends from military sites in the Middle East, as part of a pledge to assist the military in crises.

United Airlines began offering help on Sunday, according to a spokesperson, but she refused to provide more information. On Sunday, a United aircraft departed Frankfurt and landed at a military facility in Qatar, according to FlightRadar24, a monitoring website. The identical aircraft was supposed to land at Ramstein Air Base in Germany and then fly to Dulles International Airport in Washington.

American Airlines said it will have three wide-body aircraft ready to help with the evacuations beginning Monday. United is donating four Boeing 777 aircraft. Delta Air Lines, Atlas Air, and Omni Air, two charter-flight providers, will each provide three aircraft, while Hawaiian Airlines will provide two.

In a statement, American Airlines stated, “The pictures from Afghanistan are devastating.” “Our pilots and flight attendants, who will be flying these flights as part of this lifesaving effort, are pleased and grateful,” said the airline.

Following the Berlin airlift, in which the United States and the United Kingdom combated a Soviet siege of West Berlin by delivering supplies over the course of 277,569 flights, the Civil Reserve Air Fleet was formed in 1951. The Defense Department is in charge of the program, with assistance from the Transportation Department. In peacetime, airlines who participate in the program are given first priority in transporting people and goods for the Defense Department, which is a profitable business.

Government authorities informed airlines last week that the fleet may be activated to assist with evacuations in Afghanistan. The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents United Airlines flight attendants, opened a bidding system over the weekend for its members to sign up to crew the flights.

“As a global airline and our country’s flag carrier, we embrace the obligation to react promptly to international issues like this one,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby stated on social media. “It’s a responsibility we take seriously and with great care.”

Participating airlines, who are transporting fewer customers due to the coronavirus epidemic, are not anticipated to be harmed by the flights. The demand for tickets for foreign flights that utilize the kind of bigger aircraft that will be used for the evacuations is particularly low.

Afghans camping outside the gates of the airport in Kabul on Sunday.

On Sunday, Afghans slept outside the Kabul airport’s gates. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek

The coronavirus is an afterthought at Hamid Karzai International Airport, where hundreds of US soldiers and NATO partners are attempting to evacuate nationals and thousands of Afghans eager to escape their country after the Taliban seized Kabul last week.

The evacuation operation’s pace, scale, and breadth — which came together quickly as U.S. officials were taken off guard by the Taliban’s fast assault — means there are few, if any, safeguards in place to help prevent the illness and its newer, more aggressive forms from spreading.

There is no testing of the thousands of passengers that travel through the facility in what has become the last operation of the US war in the nation, which has lasted almost two decades. Hundreds of Afghans are brought in from the airport gates and detained in congested parking lots or tents before being processed in overcrowded airports.

The U.S. military cargo planes that transport a significant number of Afghan refugees to bases in the Middle East and Europe are filled to the brim with 300 to 400 people at a time, who sit almost knee-to-knee on the floor.

Coronavirus testing is generally done outside of Afghanistan at American bases, where passengers are screened and quarantined if they test positive. Afghanistan’s ministry of public health had announced a third wave of new coronavirus infections in the nation, with a record number of positive cases and fatalities, just before the government fell.

However, from the beginning of the epidemic, coronavirus testing in the nation has been unreliable and uneven, due to testing capacity being restricted or absent in remote regions. On top of the security problem, the present scenario is part of a larger humanitarian and medical crisis confronting Afghans.

Humanitarian and medical assistance has been limited in the last week, according to the World Health Organization, which has been unable to bring supplies into the country due to the ban on commercial flights landing in Kabul.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) observed that other humanitarian organizations are equally hampered.

The World Health Organization stated in a statement that “conflict, displacement, drought, and the Covid-19 epidemic are all contributing to a complicated and dire situation in Afghanistan.”

The movement and mixing of the newly displaced in Afghanistan, combined with many now living in often overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, has severely limited infection prevention protocols and increased the risk of transmission of the coronavirus, according to Dapeng Luo, a representative for the global health body in Afghanistan.

Dr. Luo expressed worry that this, along with the country’s low vaccination coverage, may result in an outbreak of the virus.

“This would put a huge strain on the health system, which is already dealing with an escalation of trauma and emergency cases, as well as a supply scarcity owing to the present instability, interruptions in governance, and the shipping of goods into the country,” Dr. Luo added. “A fresh wave of Covid-19 may deprive some of the most vulnerable people of life-saving medical treatment.”

Former President Hamid Karzai leaving after an interview at his house in Kabul, Afghanistan, in June.

In June, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai left following an interview at his home in Kabul. Credit… Associated Press/Rahmat Gul

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, accompanied by his daughters, stood outside his house in Kabul last week to make a video message in which he said that he would remain in the Afghan capital with his family to attempt to cooperate with the Taliban for a peaceful transition.

But, despite his best efforts to portray himself as a mediator at this critical juncture, his capacity to do so is shaky. Mr. Karzai looked less confident and his speech was stilted in a second film, which was shot in the backyard of former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. Mr. Abdullah stood silently beside him.

After the Taliban disarmed his guards and took over protection of his complex few days ago, Mr. Karzai sought shelter with Mr. Abdullah, according to two Afghan officials.

Mr. Karzai, who has resided in a well-guarded government home near the presidential palace since retiring in 2014, stayed in Kabul after many officials had departed. He had said that he was establishing a committee of Afghan elites to engage with the Taliban for an inclusive interim administration.

But, according to Muslem Hyatt, a former military attaché for the Afghan government in London, he and Mr. Abdullah are in an increasingly tense position. Despite Taliban assurances that previous politicians would be pardoned once the organization took control of the nation, the pressure on Mr. Karzai and Mr. Abdullah raises doubts about their capacity to operate freely to assist establish a new administration.

Mr. Karzai and Mr. Abdullah had been in contact with Saad Mohseni, the director general of MOBY Media Group, which runs the independent news station Tolo TV, and his opinion was that the talks between the Taliban and the former leaders were nothing more than a performance, according to Mr. Mohseni.

“National unity, comforting the Afghan people, creating national consensus,” he added, “but nothing substantial on the future government.”

Mr. Karzai’s wife and children were also with him at Mr. Abdullah’s home, according to an Afghan official who is now outside the country.

Mr. Karzai and Mr. Abdullah were both on the Taliban’s wanted list, and former government officials expressed worry for their safety as the Taliban ramped up their hunt for Afghan government security personnel.

Mr. Hyatt expressed his concern, adding that he had heard the circumstances of Mr. Karzai’s house seizure from individuals still in Kabul. Mr. Abdullah’s assistant claimed he was unable to talk with the media when contacted by phone.

No formal talks have started, according to Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, a former finance minister who met with Taliban officials in Kabul on Sunday with Mr. Karzai and Mr. Abdullah. He claimed the meeting was more about “establishing trust” and “mutual introduction” than about discussing the country’s destiny.

He said that he had encouraged the Taliban to start negotiations as soon as possible and that a new administration should be established within a month to reduce the uncertainty.

“Kabul is secure in terms of security, but people are concerned about the future,” he added, adding that the economy was deteriorating by the day. “I went on a stroll around the city today, and all I see is disappointment,” he added.

“The Taliban have triumphed militarily — they can now declare their government — but they must include others politically to create an inclusive administration that is acceptable to the Afghan people and the rest of the world,” he said. “They haven’t declared their government yet, indicating that they recognize the need of reaching a political agreement.”

The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar shaking hands after signing a peace agreement in Qatar in February 2020.

After reaching a peace deal in Qatar in February 2020, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar shook hands. Credit… Getty Images/Karim Jaafar/Agence France-Presse

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as American bombs started to fall in Afghanistan, many Taliban members left within weeks, and the organization quickly reached out to Hamid Karzai, who would become the country’s temporary president: they wanted to strike a deal.

But Washington, certain that the Taliban would be defeated permanently, was not interested in making a bargain.

Nearly two decades later, the US did reach an agreement to end the Afghan conflict, but the power balance had shifted dramatically in favor of the Taliban.

The deal that President Donald J. Trump struck with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw American troops — an agreement that Vice President Joe Biden decided to uphold shortly after taking office this year — felt like a betrayal to diplomats who had spent years trying to shore up the US and NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Now that the Taliban is back in power, some of those diplomats are reflecting on a lost opportunity for the US to seek a Taliban surrender all those years ago, which might have put an end to America’s longest war in its infancy or significantly shortened it.

A family, among more than 90 evacuated Australian citizens and Afghans, stepping off a bus at a hotel to begin a pandemic quarantine in Perth on Friday.

On Friday, a family among more than 90 evacuated Australians and Afghans stepped off a bus at a hotel in Perth to begin a pandemic quarantine. Credit… Getty Images/Trevor Collens/Agence France-Presse

While Australia scrambles to evacuate residents and visa holders from Kabul, it has also launched an ad campaign to discourage Afghan migrants from attempting to reach Australia by boat, guaranteeing them “zero chance of success.”

Karen Andrews, Australia’s minister for home affairs, said in a 30-second video sent to a government YouTube account on Monday that “Australia’s robust border protection measures have not and will not alter.” “No one who enters Australia illegally will ever be able to stay. Do not try an unauthorized boat trip to Australia. You have a zero percent probability of succeeding.”

The warning serves as a reminder of the country’s tough attitude on asylum seekers, as well as an offshore detention program that has been extensively condemned in recent years by human rights organizations. The video message is the latest in a series of videos produced by the government since 2013 to deter people from trying to enter Australia by water.

Ms. Andrews underlined in an emailed statement that individuals arriving by boat would not be relocated in Australia.

“Since 2013, the Australian government has issued over 8,500 visas to Afghans under the humanitarian program,” she added. “These individuals entered the country lawfully, with a valid visa from the Australian government.”

Within its current yearly allotment of humanitarian visas, Australia has committed to take in 3,000 Afghan refugees, excluding Afghans employed by the Australian government who are eligible for other visas. Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated that this figure might be raised, describing it as “a floor, not a ceiling.”

While the situation in Afghanistan remains tense, the government has said that it would not require Afghans who are currently in Australia on visas to return home.

The video comes after Australian news sources reported last weekend that over 100 Afghan guards at Australia’s embassy in Kabul had been denied a speciality visa and instructed to “call a migration agency” because they were contractors rather than diplomatic employees.

The administration announced hours later that the employees had been granted humanitarian visas.

Mr. Morrison said on Monday that 470 Australians, Afghan visa holders, and nationals of friendly nations had been evacuated overnight from Kabul to Australia’s military base in the United Arab Emirates. According to him, this brings the total number of individuals evacuated from Kabul by Australian troops, with the assistance of US and UK forces, to over 1,000.

A repatriation aircraft from the United Arab Emirates arrived in Melbourne as well, bringing 175 Afghans who had been evacuated. Another aircraft, carrying 94 passengers, arrived in Perth on Friday.

A U.S. Army crew chief aboard a military helicopter over Kabul in May.

In May, a US Army crew leader flies above Kabul in a combat helicopter. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek

The world is seeing the tumultuous and sudden conclusion of the United States’ longest war. However, the topic of Afghanistan is conspicuously missing from certain American army outposts, civilian districts, and rural crossroads throughout the country.

A sandstone monument outside the main gate of a bustling Army post at Fort Carson, Colo., is engraved with the names of troops from the post who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2005, the Army ran out of space for names, so it added another. And then there was another. And then there was another. The names of 407 people are now engraved on nine stones beside the entrance.

Despite the numerous slabs erected throughout the years, there was no celebration at Fort Carson to commemorate the conclusion of the Afghan war. There were no people holding handmade placards, no stop for a minute of quiet, as there had been at the commencement of the conflict.

The same lack of recognition could be found across the United States, where people who once flew American flags and wore yellow ribbons on their cars watched the fall of Kabul on television this month and struggled to piece together coherent responses from conflicting threads of emotion, memory, and, at times, apathy.

Following the collapse of Afghanistan, Americans are both frightened of assaults and concerned that the military reaction shown in Iraq and Afghanistan may not provide a solution.

Some fear that the end of the war isn’t really an end at all, as they watch the Taliban ride through Kabul in jubilation.

“Will it ever come to an end?” Pat Terlingo, 76, a former school administrator from Shanksville, Pennsylvania, agreed. “I don’t believe so.”

In a handout photograph released by the Taliban, former President Hamid Karzai, center left, met in Kabul last week with Abdullah Abdullah, second from right, and a Taliban delegation including Anas Haqqani, center right.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center left, met with Abdullah Abdullah, second from right, and a Taliban delegation led by Anas Haqqani, center right, in Kabul last week, according to a handout picture provided by the Taliban. Associated Press/Taliban/Taliban/Associated Press/Taliban/Associated Press/Associated Press/Associated Press

In the midst of fatal mayhem outside Kabul’s airport, with hundreds of frightened Afghans attempting to escape, the Taliban have reached out to former President Hamid Karzai and Russia in an effort to fulfill their promise to establish a “inclusive” administration and crush holdouts opposing their rule.

The Taliban’s past shows little willingness to compromise on their strict Islamist beliefs or share authority, but the US has warned the terrorist organization that going it alone would lead to perpetual warfare and isolation. Mr. Karzai, who governed the country from 2001 to 2014, has attempted to position himself as a mediator in this setting, although under increasingly tense conditions.

Mr. Karzai, 63, has met with Taliban commanders, including Khalil Haqqani, whom the US has classified as a terrorist, after falling out with the US over American drone strikes, corruption allegations, and other problems while president. Mr. Karzai is also in regular contact with Abdullah Abdullah, the previous Afghan government’s peace delegation’s leader.

Over the weekend, Mr. Karzai and Mr. Abdullah spoke with a Taliban commander identified as the acting governor of Kabul. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s top diplomat, was a key official in the group’s government in the 1990s, and an increasing number of senior Taliban have been spotted in Kabul in recent days to negotiate the form of the future administration.

The Russian ambassador, Dmitri Zhirnov, told Russian television on Saturday that a team of Taliban commanders visited the Russian Embassy in Kabul, requesting authorities to pass on a negotiating offer to a group of Afghan politicians holding out in northern Afghanistan.

The position of Mr. Karzai is precarious. Former government officials claimed they were worried for his and Mr. Abdullah’s safety since they were both on a Taliban list of wanted persons.

It’s uncertain how the US will react to Mr. Karzai’s return. It’s also unclear if Afghans will be persuaded by the Taliban’s sudden claimed moderation, given the Taliban’s history of persecution of women and violence.

There was no indication of any government forming a week after the Taliban overran the nation and the two-decade-long American effort to create a democratic Afghanistan failed.

Nepalis arriving at the international airport in Kathmandu last week after being evacuated from Afghanistan.

After being evacuated from Afghanistan, Nepalis arrived at Kathmandu’s international airport last week. Credit… Shutterstock/EPA/Narendra Shrestha

Nepalese security forces have performed a little-known but important role in safeguarding politicians, embassies, and businesses in Afghanistan. Nepal is a landlocked nation in the Himalayas that is one of Asia’s poorest countries.

The security guards, many of them are ethnic Gurkhas who have served in the Nepali, Indian, or British militaries, are hired by private contractors and operate under circumstances that have sparked complaints from labor advocates.

Nepal is now attempting to evacuate thousands of its citizens from Afghanistan, a difficult job.

The precise number of Nepalese citizens in Afghanistan is unknown, as the country does not maintain an embassy there. While a result, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s administration is pleading with Western countries to assist in the rescue of Nepali security personnel as they evacuate their own people from Kabul.

Amrit Rokaya Chhetri, a survivor of a 2016 Taliban suicide attack in Kabul that murdered 13 Nepalis, stated, “Our fellow guards should be evacuated out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible.” “What if someone is killed in an explosion or a shooting as a result of the delay in evacuation?”

A C-17 military transport plane landing at the international airport in Kabul on Sunday.

On Sunday, a C-17 military cargo aircraft landed at Kabul’s international airport. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek

A fundamental issue lies at the heart of the rush to fly American citizens out of Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover: how many Americans are waiting to be evacuated?

The Biden administration has been unable to respond to this inquiry.

On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security advisor, stated, “We can’t give you a specific figure.”

Mr. Sullivan said that the US had been in contact with “a few thousand Americans” and was working on getting them out of the country. He claimed that “approximately a few thousand” Americans were attempting to flee Afghanistan in another appearance with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

On Tuesday, American authorities believed that 10,000 to 15,000 Americans were in Afghanistan. Since Aug. 14, the day before the Taliban seized Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, approximately 2,500 Americans have been evacuated, according to Maj. Gen. William Taylor of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.

The evacuation of American citizens is part of a larger airlift operation ongoing in Kabul, which is also transporting thousands of Afghans. Since Aug. 14, almost 28,000 individuals have been evacuated on military and other aircraft, according to Mr. Biden.

A lack of clarity regarding how many Americans were in Afghanistan when the Taliban took power complicates things for the Biden administration.

Mr. Sullivan said that when Americans visit Afghanistan, they are required to register with the US Embassy. Some people register, but then depart without informing the embassy. Others never register in the first place.

In the NBC interview, Mr. Sullivan added, “We’ve been working over the last several days to obtain fidelity on as exact a count as possible.” “Thousands of Americans have been contacted by phone, email, and text. And we’re working on plans to offer them guidance on the best, safest, and most efficient way to get inside the airport when we get in contact with them.”

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